| 16.2°C Belfast

McDonald: EU was ‘no great friend to Ireland’ during financial crisis

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald warned there can be no return to austerity after the coronavirus pandemic

Close

Sinn Fein Leader, Mary Lou McDonald (PA)

Sinn Fein Leader, Mary Lou McDonald (PA)

Sinn Fein Leader, Mary Lou McDonald (PA)

The European Commission “was no great friend” to Ireland or its people during the last financial crisis, Sinn Fein’s leader has said.

Speaking in the Dail on Wednesday, Mary Lou McDonald said there cannot be a return to austerity once the coronavirus pandemic ends.

Her statement comes as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar took part in a European Council meeting on the Covid-19 outbreak on Wednesday morning with other EU leaders.

Close

A billboard comparing the National Asset Management Agency to the computer game Grand Theft Auto on the side of a building in Dublin (PA)

A billboard comparing the National Asset Management Agency to the computer game Grand Theft Auto on the side of a building in Dublin (PA)

PA

A billboard comparing the National Asset Management Agency to the computer game Grand Theft Auto on the side of a building in Dublin (PA)

Mr Varadkar said they had spoken about a potential mutualisation of debt, known as coronabonds, but there was not unanimous support for such a plan.

Ms McDonald said: “There can be no return to austerity in the wake of this emergency.

“The fiscal rules within the EU are currently suspended but this is only a temporary state of affairs and the excessive deficit rules will re-apply again in the future.”

“The Irish people are all too aware of how austerity looks and how it feels from the last crisis.

“The European Commission and the European system at that time was no great friend to Ireland or our people.

“There are huge concerns now amongst workers and families that we are looking at a deja vu, or re-run, of that scenario.”

Ms Donald said she was concerned by comments made by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe that financial supports for hundreds of thousands workers could be tapered in the months ahead.

PA